Petroc learned the fundamentals of form early on from his grandmother and great-grandmother while crafting models from homemade Play-Doh. The artist eventually migrated to clay, a medium he still uses, and then to digital tools. "I don't believe the computer is the only way I could accomplish my art, but I use it because it allows me to quickly realize my ideas while avoiding the limitations imposed on real-world objects," he says.
Petroc begins the digital sculpting process by hand with an initial design sketch. Then, using a SensAble Technologies Free Form haptics-based system, he roughly models the figure he is creating. Next, he generates a curve network and NURBS patches on top of the FreeForm object, thereby creating an organized surface mesh, "essential for animation and efficient model texturing." He then imports the NURBS patches into Maya, where he can also convert them to polygonal or subdivision surfaces, depending on the application. Last, Pet roc creates a computer-generated background, then animates the image.
Petroc is now director of character development at Atoza, a content-creation studio he recently co-founded. He has also lectured at sculpting studios and user groups on topics such as the transition to digital media and modeling for animation. More information about Petroc and his art can be found at www.zackpetroc.com. -Karen Moltenbrey
Creature A student of human anatomy, Petroc creates most of his work based on the human form. Despite this creature's unusual physical features, some human-like traits are still apparent.
Consolidation Enhancement As part of a traveling corporate-sponsored exhibit, this physical model incorporates several works from Michelangelo, including "David," "Pieta," and "Bacchus," into a single image, thereby forging a unique relationship among Michelangelo's subjects. To create the sculpture, Petroc first modeled the characters in FreeForm, Paraform, and Maya, then rendered the image in Maya. Using rapid prototyping, he then generated a physical model from the lightweight polymer composite that was displayed in the exhibit.
Child Study Petroc generated this sculpture as part of a character design and animation work flow test.
Neanderthal Statue A private collector/archaeologist commissioned Petroc to re-create a statue found inside an Egyptian tomb.
Attaboy Forms A central figure in a narrative under development by Petroc is the fictional character Attaboy, who can manipulate adipose cells into giant superheroes or machines to help fight crime. In this rendering, Attaboy's silhouette can be seen inside the protective shell of an adipose blob.
Adipose Giant This figure of Adipose the Giant was generated from a character that appears in a narrative created by Petroc based on his figure "Attaboy" (below).
Nen Petroc created this character as a test design for another story he is writing involving microscopic colonies of creatures that live on a person's skin.